There are some very interesting questions brought up by David Levy’s book, Love and Sex With Robots: The Evolution of Human-Robot Relationships (see also Programmed for love). Suppose robots get so human like they are practically indistinguishable from humans in their interactions? What if they are anatomically correct enough to have sex with without you being able to easily detect they are not human?
That’s thought provoking enough but the really interesting questions are what this means to the concept of marriage fidelity as the technology is taken to the limit:
- If you have sex with such a robot is it “cheating”?
- Does it depend on whether you knew it was a robot or not?
- If it is considered cheating whether you knew it was a robot or not, then is it “cheating” when a person has sex with an “adult toy” of today?
- If it is considered cheating to have sex with the human like robot, but it’s not considered cheating to have sex with an adult toy of today’s technology then at what point in the sophistication of the technology does it become cheating?
- If it is not considered cheating if it was a robot then what is the basis for making that distinction? Is it just because one comes with a warranty and has parts that are dishwasher safe?
- What if certain parts of the robot are actually from human donors? How many parts need to be human before it’s not considered a robot? Or how many artificial replacement parts must a human have before they are considered a robot?
- If it is not considered cheating if it was a robot, you think it is a robot at the time, what happens if you find out later it was not a robot?
- If it is not considered cheating if it was a robot, you think it is a human at the time, what happens if you find out later it was a robot?
Of course all these questions will have to be answered on a case by case basis by the humans and robots involved but my interest is in the basis of how people will make these decisions. I find it all wonderfully entertaining.